Convicted child killer Michael Woodmansee is seeking an absentee ballot for the November election and the head of Cranston's Board of Canvassers is not happy about it.
"When I saw Woodmansee's name I got a little upset," said Joseph DeLorenzo, the canvassing board chairman, in an interview with Rhode Island Public Radio. "Here's a guy that murdered a little boy a six year old boy created turmoil when they tried to release him and now he wants to vote in the city of Cranston. So I have a lot of questions because when you register to vote it states on the voter registration form that you are not mentally incompetent."
In 1975, Woodmansee confessed to killing his nephew, Jason Foreman, and was sentenced to 40 years. However, he only served 28 years and was set to be released before voluntarily committing himself. Before committing himself, news of his release caused residents to protest.
According to The Journal, Woodmansee was transferred from the ACI to the Eleanor Slater Hospital in September 2011.
According to The Sentencing Project, a prison reform organization, only Kentucky and Virginia have a lifelong ban on felons from voting, without reinstatement by the governor or legislature (PDF link). Florida and several other states also make convicted felons wait a period of time after their release before restoring voting rights.
In a 1974 decision of the Supreme Court, Richardson v. Ramirez, it was decided that states could restrict the voting rights of convicted felons.
The campaign for Chris Wilkens issued the following statement after learning the news:
Christopher Wilkens, candidate for Rhode Island House of Representatives, District 34 (Wakefield, Peace Dale, Narragansett) calls for a change in the law to prohibit felony convicts from voting.
“In response to the controversy surrounding Michael Woodmansee’s voting rights, I am calling for a change in the law which would limit the voting rights of convicted felons. If I am elected, I will make it a priority to introduce a bill to ensure that those who are serving sentences for the commission of a felony crime will not be allowed to vote in the State of Rhode Island until such time that their sentence has been fulfilled.”